The Eight Callings For Every Pastor
The world has no shortage of leaders. Businesses, schools, and government buildings are filled with men and women who have been given authority to lead and make decisions. However, the world is in shortage of godly leaders. Now more than ever, there is a need for people to shepherd like Jesus, and point people to their King. We as pastors need to be set apart in the way we lead - yielded to the Spirit of God and his plan for our lives.
Luckily, God does not leave us in the dark. He informs us through his word on how a pastor is to conduct himself and seek God. It is important for everyone, whether they are a pastor or not, to understand the qualifications and callings of a shepherd. That way we can keep each other accountable and be sure to choose our leaders wisely.
So, without further ramblings, here are eight things a Pastor of Christ’s church is called to:
1 - The Pastor is called to spend Time With Jesus
“And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons…” (Mark 3:13-15)
Notice here the order of responsibilities the apostles were called to. Before they were called to preach or do the work of the ministry, they were called to be with Jesus. This ought to be the first call to every pastor and every Christian who desires to be effective. We must know our king, and sit in his presence to glean from his character. How do we do that? Through intimate times of prayer, and seeking him in the word of God.
2 - The Pastor is called to desire the Work
“This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.” (1 Timothy 3:1)
A pastor should also desire the position of an overseer. He should not reluctantly accept the role because others desire for him to be there. No, he should feel the tug of God on his heart and mind. Being a pastor is hard enough as it is. You cannot last as a leader in the church if there is not first a desire put there by God.
“Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly.” (1 Peter 5:2)
The pastor should be eager to lead and shepherd. There should be a joyful giddiness that exudes from him as he thinks about serving. Not to say there won’t be hard days. However, those hard days will be worth it, because you know you are doing what God has called you to do.
3 - The Pastor is called to Personal Holiness
“A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence… not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” (1 Timothy 3:2-7)
A pastor is responsible for guiding others to worship Christ and submit to his authority. How can he do this if he is not also worshipping Christ and submitting to His authority? A pastor is not perfect. Even Paul called himself the “Chief of Sinners”. However, there is a striving for higher living - knowing how he conducts himself affects the health of the church.
4 - The Pastor is called to Communicate with The Spirit
In Acts 21, Paul and some of the disciples had decided to visit Jerusalem. However, the day before they were going to depart, the Holy Spirit instructed them not to. Paul was listening close to the guidance of the Spirit.
Likewise, Pastors ought to be sensitive to the leading of God’s Spirit. There are plenty of good ideas out there, but not all of them are God’s will for that season. The pastor must be willing to change his plan if the Spirit is leading in a different direction. Likewise, the Pastor must be teachable and willing to change his own ways if it means obeying God.
5 - The Pastor is called to Teach the word
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of Christ.” If a pastor hopes to bring people closer to God, he must bring people to his word. The word is active and able to cut through the hearts of people. The word goes deeper than a leader can go. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance we teach the word and teach it rightly.
This does not mean every pastor has to be up on stage preaching a 45-minute sermon. What it does mean is that a pastor is continually encouraging and teaching groups or individuals God’s word. We teach the word, correct with the word, and counsel with the word.
6 - The Pastor is called to Equip the Saints
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-12)
Here is something many people miss - the pastor’s job is not to simply do the ministry, but to equip others to do the ministry. We as Pastors are like blacksmiths in an armory. We are making swords, shields, and hammers to hand off for people to fight the battle.
There is a battle to be fought in the schools, workplaces, and homes. A pastor cannot be everywhere in the community. So, it is his job to equip people with the word of God and the love of God to go and be effective wherever they are.
7 - The Pastor is called to Know Who He Serves
“For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10)
It can be so easy for a pastor to slip into the trap of people-pleasing. Instead of serving our king and seeking his will, we can get caught up in trying to make people like us. This is especially difficult while preaching on the pulpit. However, we serve a mighty God who is to be feared and loved. We aim to please him first.
Likewise, we must know when to say “No.” In 1 Timothy 5, Paul exhorts Timothy to put parameters around serving widows. Timothy was encouraged to feed and clothe true widows who really needed his help. There were some widows who had children and grandchildren who were able to take care of them, but instead they wanted the church to help. Timothy needed to say “No” to people who could help themselves so he could say “Yes” to those who couldn’t.
8 - The Pastor is called to Love Love Love
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-2)
The pastor can preach the word faithfully, but not have the love of God. The pastor can serve his church but not have love for people. The pastor can create outreach for the lost in the community but not have a love for the city. Paul says that all of these amazing things without love are empty.
A pastor is called to LOVE GOD, LOVE PEOPLE, & LOVE THE COMMUNITY. If his ministry and leadership is not rooted and grounded in love, he will burn out. His effectiveness will be diminished and his heart will fade.
Love must be at the center of it all.